Should You Upsize Your Gutter System?

Your gutters protect all elements of your home’s exterior, including the roof, siding, and the foundation. Because a gutter system directs rainwater runoff away from your house, it might seem that a larger gutter size would automatically be better. However, for most types of residential housing in the lower mainland, 5-inch gutters adequately manage the volume of rain. But there are circumstances when upsizing your gutter system could save your home from harmful water damage.

The Pitch and Size of the Roof

When the surface area of your roof is large and combined with a steep pitch, upsizing from a 5-inch to a 6-in gutter size, for example, will help the roofing system handle more precipitation. Large, steep-pitched roofs tend to be more readily impacted by wind-driven rain storms – the steeper the pitch, the faster the water enters the gutter system. A gutter upgrade in this case will help prevent water from overshooting the gutter channel or from overflowing.

Gutter Runs of 40 Feet Plus

Roofing professionals advise that there is a downspout for every 40 linear feet of guttering. When gutter runs are over 40 feet it is recommended that two downspouts are installed. If this isn’t possible due to the style of the home or the roof configuration, upgrading the gutter size will help prevent overflowing gutters and any resulting water damage.

The Configuration of the Roof

The roofing system of a house might have a large surface area, but be relatively straightforward in its shape. However, if the configuration of the roof is more complex – multiple rooflines, more than two storeys, a mono pitched roof, etc. – gutter upsizing will provide better protection. Since the gutters of the upper levels of a home will drain into the first storey gutters, a gutter system with wider gutter channels will ensure that runoff is being drained efficiently.

How Much Rain?

Another thing to consider regarding gutter upsizing is how much rain your local region receives annually. As mentioned above if your have a large roof and reside in an area that gets an above-average amount of rainfall like we do here in the lower mainland, your home’s exterior will benefit from a gutter upgrade.

How Many Trees?

Do the gutters overflow only when there is a heavy rainfall? Are you cleaning the gutters one to two times more often than you’ve cleaned them in the past? If there are a lot of trees on your property, especially tall trees growing close to the house, gutter upsizing could help reduce the number of annual gutter cleanings you will need to schedule. In this case, a larger gutter size will increase the flow of water through the gutter system, decreasing the potential for debris buildup and the formation of blockages.

If You do Decide to Upsize Your Gutter System

Tips for successfully upsizing your gutter system include:

  • Inspect the roof first – ensure it’s in good shape and that the fascia can support a larger gutter system
  • Choose seamless gutters because they have fewer seams – reduces the number of possible leaks and places clogs can form
  • Be prepared to hire a professional gutter installer – you won’t be able to DIY seamless gutters
  • Reassess the downspouts – if you’re upgrading the gutters, you will most likely upsize to 3 x 4 inch downspouts, but do you need to add one or two more downpipes